Lisa Slominski, Colour scheme of a sunset, 2013. Gouache on textured wallpaper lining, MDF.
Born in America and currently living and working in London, artist Lisa Slominski has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally. She talks Traction through the broad themes running through her multi-disciplinary practice.
Repeated patterns or motifs occupy much of your practice. What is it about the act of repetition that excites you?
Since I began my art education at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, I have been drawn to pattern and repetition. I remember specifically being introduced to the notion of repeat pattern in contemporary art during the course ‘Propaganda and Decoration’ led by Christine Tarkowski.
I like that repeat pattern has no beginning and no end. It also has a feeling of orderly chaos. It is powerful and strong, yet rhythmic and meditative at the same time.
I am interested in the tension between the individual and the masses. The individual being a single entity (image/icon/motif), then through repetition becomes the masses; gaining strength in numbers but perhaps losing individuality.
From a process standpoint, I enjoy the act involved with making patterns and repetitive works. It in itself becomes a repetitive procedure. Still a creative process, but with a set of rules implied.
The first pieces I saw of yours were from your ‘Liar, Liar’ series. Could you talk a bit about the psychological aspect present in these works and how it relates to your broader practice?
For ‘Liar, Liar’ both wallpaper works were a distinct sample of a polygraph result of someone telling a lie.
Lisa Slominski, Liar, Liar, 2012. Silk-screened wallpaper of polygraph results demonstrating deception.
The results used in the works came from research I did at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies. The 4 lines in a polygraph test show simultaneous readings of blood pressure, pulse, respiration and GSR (which is psychogalvanic skin reflex and the proof point of lying ‘Liar, Liar’).
Therefore, the main repeat pattern in the work is a sample of a few questions (control questions and one resulting in a lie where the GSR makes a noticeable line change). This test section is then mirrored into itself to be repeated as wallpaper.
I was interested in this idea of making the intangibility of a lie, which mostly operates within our own or shared psyche, visible. There is definitely a strong aspect of my practice which translates emotional, psychological, metaphysical states into physical scenes or actual spaces.
Your work often touches on the decorative, both in your materials and in the use of pattern making. Your wallpapers in particular are suggestive of the domestic interior. How do you think working in a medium such as this - which is at first glance familiar but on closer inspection completely different in its context and realisation - affect the way the viewer encounters a work?
I draw from the idea of our everyday backdrop. Our reading of landscape - and more recently how that reading of landscape may be changing. Using decorative, interior and architectural materials creates an instantly recognizable context for the viewer. It affects the viewer by putting them on a line to teeter between the familiar and the unfamiliar. The materials themselves pull you in one direction. How they are used and the context of contemporary art pull you in another.
Similar to the concept I mentioned above with ‘Liar, Liar’, making backdrops or scenes of the hypothetical lends itself to these materials. I use these materials to build the un-existed.
I intend my work, of course, to be contemplative but also enjoyable to encounter.
Lisa Slominski, A study for ‘It is what it is (Trevor)’, 2014. Print on wallpaper.
You often touch on a tension between the hand-made and mass-produced present in both art-making and manufacturing since the industrial revolution. How does this play out in your working process?
I think both the Industrial Revolution and Digital Revolution could be considered relevant to my process.
Going from hand production to machines and then going to digital — In my practice, taking elements from machine production and digital existence, then intervening by hand.
More recently I have been specifically interested in looking to the internet and video games for imagery. Then taking these virtual resources to construct installations with materials we use to curate our own environment via decoration, design, and architecture.
One project I am working on in the studio to better explain my process is ‘It is what it is’. I extracted the eyes of the three main characters from Grand Theft Auto and am working to juxtaposition them atop particular wallpaper motifs. I find the drama and realism in their eyes brings forward how virtual people and places have become part of our everyday scenery. This combination will become a reconstruction of our everyday environment via disparate but influential factors.
Similarly, I have been googling images of ‘utopia’. Scrolling through these digitally created depictions I am particularly drawn to the colors. So I am sampling colors directly from these images to produce a series of home decor paints. These paints then become my color scheme for the installation to the create patterns.
Where can we see your work next?
'Colour Scheme of a sunset' is currently being exhibited as part of the Open West at The Wilson, Cheltenham. That exhibition is on through the 1 June.
I am also working on a project alongside artist Tina Hage and curator Erica Shiozaki.
Towards the start of 2015, I will be showing new work with Kristin Hjellgjerde Gallery.
For more information on Lisa Slominski’s practice and upcoming projects, visit her website at http://www.lisaslominski.com.